Robert G. Davidson'89
Name: Rob Davidson
Employer: California State University-Chico
Majors: Creative Writing and English
Pathway: Semester abroad at the University of London, graduate studies at the Purdue University, service as a Peace Corps volunteer from 1990-1992 in Grenada, where he taught English and literature at the high school level. By promoting cultural literacy education on a grassroots level, he brought skill sets to students in who were desperately poor and had no political clout in the world. Although English is the official language in Grenada, people speak Creole, leaving his students functionally illiterate. Grenada taught him what it means to be acculturated to a sense of failure as well as the importance of written and oral communication skills.
What Beloit College gave him: well-trained professional teachers in classrooms with a 12:1 student/teacher ratio. Teachers who gave him important feedback on papers, met with him in their office for 30 minutes at a time, and took students seriously. In Grenada, he modeled Beloit professors by analyzing text, providing written/verbal feedback, and spending hours after school meeting in the staff room with students. The approach worked: 12 students passed the final exam, compared to 0 in the previous year.
Formative experience: Teaching while in the Peace Corps. Learning that being educator involves more than delivering information; it is a tremendous responsibility and honor.
Current work: Teaching and coordinating the graduate program in English at California State University-Chico, an institution that reaches out to the most under-served, first-generation students.
Advice for Beloit College students: Learn to think creatively and critically. Gain a diverse skill set, volunteer. Pursue as many internships as possible, study languages, and go abroad.